I am self employed and run an education consultancy business. I work from home. I can fit my working life around the demands of raising a family and other commitments. I do the school run and can cook on a daily base. It sounds perfect, doesn’t it?
I work most evenings. I may work in the weekends. My income is not steady, my financial responsibilities are. At times I feel isolated and lack motivation.
One thing is for sure. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
In all fairness, it has not all been a smooth ride. Quite the contrary.
Being self-employed and working from home just happened to me. I did not actively seek to embark on this journey, but given my circumstances starting a business from home was the only way forward.
I may had not realised it at the time, but setting up as a self employed was the beginning of a challenging but wonderful learning journey, both in terms of business and personal development.
So these are some of the things I have found out:
WE are our business. Our personality and passion are reflected in our services and products. In other words, our personality is our USP, the secret ingredient that makes us unique and sets us apart from other businesses that offer similar products/services.
Running a business is an one (wo)man show. We do not just sell a product or provide a service, but we tend to do a lot more peripheral work – marketing, sales, leaflet distribution, website building, copy writing, accounts. We also need to run our business, which involves planning and project management. We may be able to pay for some help but inevitably in the beginning we need to learn a wide range of skills to move forward.
Starting and subsequently running a business is not an easy task. It takes a huge step outside our comfort zone. Bear in mind though, this is probably the hardest part of the journey.
Running a business from home is tricky. Once your home becomes your workplace, the boundaries between work and family life can easily become blurred.Untangling the two takes time but is a prerequisite for eventually finding the right balance for you.
But most importantly what I was surprised to find out is that running a business is not just a business journey but a personal development exercise. Actually I am now convinced that business growth and personal development not only go hand in hand, but one feeds the other.
Take for instance confidence (or lack of it). This is a trait that a lot of women in my networking groups cite as an issue for them. Confidence in our abilities is probably one of the main ingredients of business success. Surely, we may start with low self-confidence, but as we develop our business skills and we expand our customer base inevitably our confidence increases. Naturally, this new confidence not only benefits the business, but also reflects on our personal life. For some people this may mean making new friends or trying new hobbies. It could give us the attitude to make positive changes in our life.
So, if you are currently thinking of starting a business, think no more. Take the plunge and most likely you will emerged as a new person.